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Business

NY employers tell Fed good employees are hard to find

More than six in 10 factories in New

More than six in 10 factories in New York State and service firms in the metropolitan area are looking to hire, but some cannot find qualified job candidates, according to surveys released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This is the New York Fed on March 16, 2012. Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

More than 6 in 10 factories in New York State and service firms in the metropolitan area are looking to hire, but many cannot find qualified job candidates, according to surveys released Tuesday.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York polled about 100 manufacturers statewide and about 100 retailers and other service firms on Long Island, in New York City and its northern suburbs.

Nearly 6 in 10 plants reported difficulty in finding qualified job candidates. More than 3 in 10 service firms had the same problem.

For both groups, more than half have raised starting salaries in some job categories to increase their applicant pool.

However, nearly the same number said they were not passing along the higher compensation costs to customers in the form of higher prices.

The New York Fed also said, "Roughly half of manufacturers and 56 percent of service sector respondents indicated that employee retention had prompted them to increase wages and salaries by more than in the past few years."

In April, the New York Fed surveys showed job applicants with computer skills were increasingly scarce.

In the April surveys, more than 7 in 10 factories reported difficulty in attracting workers with advanced computer skills. More than 5 in 10 service companies had the same problem. For both groups, job applicants with insufficient computer skills have been the top hiring issue for the past three years, the April surveys showed.

Among manufacturers, worker punctuality and reliability were a problem, with more than 6 in 10 saying they are having trouble finding applicants with these attributes. Among service firms, nearly 5 in 10 said it was difficult to attract applicants with good interpersonal skills.

The median number of days it took to fill a job vacancy in the past year was 21 for factories and 40 for service businesses, according to the earlier surveys.

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